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Aromatic vs. Non-Aromatic Tobaccos

Aromatic vs. Non-Aromatic


Different Types of Pipe Tobacco


You would think that aromatic and non-aromatic tobaccos encompass all that there is.



Not quite.


There are three main different classes of pipe tobacco blends:

  • Aromatic,

  • Non-Aromatic

  • English.


While these are the three big classes of pipe tobacco blends, there are others. The classification of these blends is a debated topic.


For the purposes of this article, a non-aromatic and an English are considered the same. The way in which they are different from Aromatic pipe tobacco is the same.


Tobacco Casing and Topping


Casing and topping are terms that are often thrown around when talking about pipe tobacco. Understanding each is essential to understanding Aromatic and Non-Aromatic tobacco.


A casing is a custom recipe liquid that is usually sprayed onto tobacco leaves. This usually happens before the different components of a tobacco are blended together. A casing contains the various flavors a tobacco blender wishes to infuse into the tobacco leaf.


A topping, or top flavour, is a spray of scents and flavors applied to the  blended tobacco right before packaging. It is this topping that gives most tobacco its delicious aroma.


Differences of Aromatic and Non-Aromatic


The most elementary difference between these two tobaccos is the amount of casing and topping on each. In fact, few Non-Aromatic pipe tobaccos use a noticeable topping at all!


This difference has a tremendous effect on the texture and effect of the tobacco. The more casing and topping a tobacco has, the higher the moisture level will be. Aromatic tobacco will typically have a higher moisture content than Non-Aromatic mixtures.


Because of the added casing and topping, Aromatic tobaccos will have a more pleasant room note than its counterpart.


Unfortunately, the same cause of the excellent room note also tends to give many different smoker's tongue bite. Many smokers will avoid aromatics for only this reason.


Another one of the major differences between aromatic and non-Aromatic tobacco blends are the components they are made from. Aromatic tobaccos generally consist primarily of Cavendish, Burley, and sweet Virginia tobaccos. On the flip side, Non-Aromatics often incorporate various Oriental tobaccos into the mixture.


Yet both Aromatic and Non-Aromatic tobaccos can include any tobacco type. Although, we traditionally see sweeter tobacco used for Aromatic blends than for Non-Aromatic mixtures.


Similarities of Aromatic and Non-Aromatic


It would make sense to think that only Aromatic pipe tobacco has casing.


According to G.L. Pease, almost all tobacco are cased to some degree. If a casing were not applied to a tobacco blend it would be obvious and would taste quite harsh.


On a related note, it would make sense for someone to say that only Aromatic tobacco are flavored. But that is far from the truth. Just like casing, all tobacco needs a bit of flavoring to make it palatable.


Aromatic Pipe Tobacco Myth


We often hear people say it is crucial for beginners to start with an Aromatic. They are told to avoid Non-Aromatic and English blends at all costs. Then, as they develop their palate, a new smoker can move up to stronger blends.


We feel this is completely false.


Aromatics often give an inexperienced smoker tongue bite, which means many new smokers are in danger of discomfort. This unpleasant sensation can cause the new smoker to never try pipe smoking again.


We are not trying to say that a new smoker should begin with a strong and robust Non-Aromatic blend. We are only saying that it isn’t always best to begin with a heavily cased Aromatic blend. It makes much more sense for a new comer to start with a blend that is easier to smoke correctly.


Choosing the Right Tobacco Blend


This is a tough topic.


To be honest no one can choose the best tobacco for you--only you can do that.


We think it is best to try a variety of different blends. You may try one and hate it. That may even happen more than once. But then, out of nowhere, you will come across a pipe tobacco that you absolutely love.


That is the beauty of pipe smoking. There is a blend out there for everyone.


Without guidance starting the journey of pipe smoking can be difficult.


Mastering the art of pipe smoking will most likely become one of the toughest endeavors in your life.


But the most difficult journeys are the ones most worth traveling.


The mastery of smoking aromatic and nonaromatic tobacco is one that many ignore. But without understanding the differences of these two, it is near impossible to master pipe smoking.


With the help of this guide, you will soon be on your way to enjoying a whole new world of pipe smoking possibilities.